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Quacks and Nostrums

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Quacks and Nostrums

Published 1959

Shows the ways in which medical quacks dupe the consumer and the steps taken by local and federal agencies to protect the public.

Run time 18:51
Producer Crawley Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


Shows the ways in which medical quacks dupe the consumer and the steps taken by local and federal agencies to protect the public. A young man grows concerned at his mother's fascination with a local alternative medicine practitioner. Skeptical of the practitioner's healing claims, he seeks confirmation of his beliefs from medical and public health professionals, and begins to conspire with them against his mother. Typical of medically motivated critiques of unconventional medicine, this film also recalls the anticommunist witchhunts of the fifties.

Danger Lurks


Reviewer: eydie - favoritefavorite - February 13, 2012
Subject: herbal teas
actually, herbs can be quite beneficial. i drink chamomile tea to help me sleep. it also has rosehip and valerian root. st. john's wort has been shown to be helpful in treating mild depression, working as well as prozac.
Reviewer: woofa - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 23, 2006
Subject: Part of the HEALTH FOR EFFECTIVE LIVING series
The mother of a young medical student is sold an herbal tea by a travelling "quack". The son visits various federal agencies including the F.D.A. and the United States Postal Service and learns of the wide variety of "Quacks and Nostrums".

One of several McGraw Hill Book Co, Inc. "Textfilms" made by Crawley Films of Ottawa Canada. Other films in this series are: CHOOSING A DOCTOR; COMMUNITY HEALTH IS UP TO YOU; MAKING LIFE ADJUSTMENTS; SHOULD YOU DRINK?

After production was completed, McGraw Hill did unfortunately acquire the original elements for all their Crawley productions, and years later they all were discarded, lost destroyed - whatever term you wish to use.

Unlike most sponsored business film companies that wasn't the case for the majority of the Crawley films. Over 30,000 cans are stored at the Library and Archives Canada, along with a large collection of production files and stills. Many of these can only be seen on site by appointment.

Amazingly, the actual production files regarding the Crawley-made McGraw Hill films do exist. They include internal company memos, production data, scripts and revisions, budgetary data, animation and titling requests, telegrams and mail between Ottawa and New York, the whole range of production data, inside the studio and its relationship with the sponsor.

Its exceedly rare that such files have been saved anywhere for these types of films.

For further information on how to make a research appointment see the website
Reviewer: Mr. Manager - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2006
Subject: " Quacks and Nostrums "
Very good late '50's film about medical con artists. The mother looks like the actress Jo Van Fleet. This movie was made in 1958 not '59.
Reviewer: ERD - favoritefavorite - January 23, 2006
Subject: Dull
This film takes a long time to come across with its point about quacks. Very dry and unimaginative.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 12, 2004
Subject: Quack quack quack
After attending a lecture by 'Aluka Khahuma' (in what appears to be a shrimp roll around her head) a mother returns to tell her son all the wonderful things the man can cure with his wonder tea. The son, who is trying to find SOME sort of topic on a term paper, doesn't buy this tea business, and goes to his mother's doctor, who reccomends seeing officials at the Food and Drug administration and other governmental offices, who seem to have all the time in the world to answer all his questions about quacks. This isn't as interesting as it all sounds, as it soon stalls while one official sits answering questions after the other. Have to give points though to the the FDA guy's acting, who seems to have come from the Jack Palance school of wooden acting. Soon, Aluka is arrested, and mom wonders why he didn't get arrested sooner. A trumpet wails a 'wuh wah' for this curious humor effect to end the whole thing which is totally offputting.
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 6, 2003
Subject: The best medicine is white medicine!
When Mom announces that she's going to try drinking herbal tea to relieve her stomach pains and tension instead of going to the doctor to be pumped full of Valium, pre-med son Larry senses something wrong!

Leaping into action, Larry visits the FDA, FTC, and the family doctor (who mentions the AMA about fifty times) to find out what can be done about quack doctors. The FDA guy sniffs the tea and can tell Larry exactly what's in it, but spends most of his time reading his lines off the desk.

Presents the quaint notion that quacks are only after your money, but doctors, I guess, work in abject poverty as men of Science.
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